Bola Tinubu, the 2023 presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress, failed to show up for The Candidates Presidential Town Hall organised for presidential candidates to present their plans before Nigerians ahead of next year’s polls.
Televised on Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), the presidential town hall series feature presidential candidates and their deputies answering questions on national issues while discussing their plans and visions for the country they aspire to lead.
Mr Tinubu was billed to appear on Wednesday per the organisers’ roster but the NTA on Wednesday announced that “the All Progressives Congress has asked for the postponement of their appearance on The Candidates to a future date.”
Mr Tinubu’s no show follows similar evasion by Peoples Democratic Party’s flagbearer Atiku Abubakar and his deputy Ifeanyi Okowa, who failed to show up for their allocated slot on Tuesday. The organisers had cited “conflicts” as reason for the PDP candidates’ absence.
It not immediately clear if and when Mr Tinubu will be rescheduled for the town hall which is backed by different partners including the MacArthur Foundation, Centre for Democracy and Development and Africa Fact Check.
Before now, Omoyele Sowore of the African Action Congress (AAC) and his deputy; Peter Obi of Labour Party and his deputy Ahmed Baba-Datti, have all featured in the town hall series discussing their ideas and vision for the country.
In November, Mr Tinubu had similarly avoided a town hall by Arise TV in Abuja, preferring to attend a nearby birthday party of a party chieftain.
In a statement by Festus Keyamo, his campaign spokesman, Mr Tinubu explained that his “busy and hectic campaign schedule” would not afford him time to attend town halls and debates to share his ideas. He instead enjoined party faithful to explain his manifesto to the public.
Mr Tinubu, a septuagenarian, has been under strict scrutiny by Nigerians as he continually makes incoherent and slurry statements. His many public gaffes, which critics say are symptoms of dementia, are constantly being highlighted as Nigerians get ready to elect a new leader on February 25, 2023.
At the flag-off of his campaign in Jos, Mr Tinubu suffered an embarrassing slip, screaming “God bless PD-APC at Jos presidential rally.” It was an unintended reference to opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) before quickly retracing his speech to properly mention his party, the APC.